Staying safe online

How to protect yourself against Ransonware - for homeusers and small businesses

Ransomware is a form of malicious software (malware) that enables cyber criminals to remotely lock down or encrypt the files on your device. Criminals use ransomware to extort money from you (a ransom), before they restore your access to the computer or mobile device. Fraudsters will often create authentic looking emails purporting to be from genuine companies in order to deliver the ransomware.

  • Updates - Install the latest software and app updates on all of your devices. These updates will often contains important security upgrades which help protect your device from viruses and hackers.
  • Anti-virus - Install anti-virus software on all your devices and configure it to automatically update. Run a complete scan of your system to check for any malware infections.
  • Backups - Backup all of your important data to a storage device that won't be left connected to your computer or network, such as an external hard drive or an online backup service.

If you are a business, charity or other organisation which is currently suffering a live cyber attack (in progress), please call 0300 123 2040 immediately.

If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, please report it to Action Fraud at

NCSC guidance on ransomware for enterprise administrators and small businesses is available at:

​Staying safe online

Get Safe Online is the UK’s leading source of unbiased, factual and easy-to-understand information on online safety.

The website Get Safe Online is a unique resource providing practical advice on how to protect yourself, your computers and mobiles device and your business against fraud, identity theft, viruses and many other problems encountered online. It contains guidance on many other related subjects too – including performing backups and how to avoid theft or loss of your computer, smartphone or tablet. Get Safe Online is a public / private sector partnership supported by HM Government and leading organisations in banking, retail, internet security and other sectors.